May 2012

Welcome to our garden newsletter!  Our goal is to provide you with timely tips to keep your pastures, yards and gardens growing and looking good!

Now is the time to plant your warm season grass, (common Bermuda grass seeds).  The best planting times for warm season grasses are late spring to summer when soil temperatures are above 65 F at 3 inches below the surface. Below are some tips to follow:

  • Use a lawn starter fertilizer for new plantings.
  • Once established, if no weeds are present, use a complete lawn food containing controlled release nitrogen in the spring and again in late summer.  If weeds persist once grass has greened up during the spring, apply a weed and feed fertilizer labeled for use on these grasses at the recommended rate instead of a stand alone lawn food.
  • Now is also a good time to prepare your lawn for summer insects and diseases.

Now that the growing season is upon us here are some tips that will help you have a healthy lawn.

  • Its time to fertilize your lawn with a weed and feed  fertilizer witch contain a post emergent herbicide. This does not only get the nutrients to the grass but also kills the weeds that have also germinated.  Remember, we have a longer growing season in the south so you must continue your weed control longer. We have a number of effective herbicides, it just depends on what type of weeds and grass you my have. You can also put down lime on your lawn if your soil is acidic.
  • I like to use a fertilizer high in Nitrogen especially when the grass is trying to green-up in May and June.
  • It is good to reapply fertilizer every 6-8 weeks from the start of the growing season until the grass starts to go dormant.  Usually 3 applications per year will do the trick.

Wondering what is in your fertilizers?  Here is what the N,P,K mean in your fertilizers:

§  N (nitrogen): Nitrogen produces “green and growth” in your lawn. This is the major ingredient in most grass fertilizers, but applying to much nitrogen can burn your lawn. Fertilizers containing slow-release nitrogen can prevent this hazard, but your lawn will take more time to “green up.”

§  P (phosphorous/phosphate): This chemical builds strong roots and promotes disease resistance. This is helpful for lawns susceptible to diseases.

§  K (potassium/potash): Potassium promotes overall plant strength and promotes drought resistance.

Okay, so you have the seed down, and the lawn fertilized.  Now what to do about those cinch bugs?  Chinch bugs are the biggest pest in St. Augustine grass.  Follow these tips to minimize your chinch bug infestation:

  • Monitor your irrigation system to provide proper water output and coverage.
  • Do not let your lawn dry out excessively between watering’s.  Chinch bugs love a dry lawn. They will search out a lawn that is stressed.
  • Chinch bugs typically start in the hottest part of the lawn along cemented areas in full sun.
  • Keeping your lawn well watered along with the natural population of chinch bug predators (other bugs) will keep you lawn looking great this spring and summer!